Daily Briefs

Michigan suit: Count absentee ballots if postmarked in time

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A voting-rights group and voters sued Michigan’s top election official on Friday, challenging a century-old law that requires absentee ballots to be received by the time polls close on Election Day to be counted.

The lawsuit against Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson was filed on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Michigan and three voters. It says a 2018 voter-approved constitutional amendment that authorizes no-reason absentee voting lets voters return their ballot by mail at any time during the 40 days before an election.

Disregarding ballots that are postmarked on time but come in late, the suit says, could disenfranchise more than 100,000 voters at a time absentee voting will rise amid a pandemic and there are mail delays. The suit also says voters should not be required to pay postage to return their ballot.

A Benson spokesman declined comment and said her office had not yet reviewed the suit. She announced earlier this week that her office had sent absentee ballot applications to millions of voters ahead of the August primary and November election — angering President Donald Trump and other Republicans who questioned her authority to do so.


Court: Injunction blocking Michigan e-cigarette ban stands

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The state appeals court let stand an injunction blocking Michigan’s ban on flavored e-cigarettes, saying a lower judge did not overstep in ruling for two businesses that sued.

In a 3-0 ruling released Friday, the court said Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephen did not abuse her discretion. Last October, she temporarily blocked the state’s weeks-old emergency rules that had been created at the behest of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The judge said then that the businesses showed a likelihood of prevailing on the merits of their contention that the rules are procedurally invalid, because state officials did not justify short-cutting the normal rule-making process.

The lawsuits, which were consolidated, were filed by Houghton-based 906 Vapor and Bay City-based A Clean Cigarette, which has locations across the state.
Whitmer, a Democrat, has accused companies of using candy flavors and deceptive advertising to hook children on nicotine. The emergency rules prohibit the sale of flavored nicotine vaping products and the misleading marketing of e-cigarettes as “clean,” “safe,” “harmless” or “healthy.”


Holiday Hours

All offices of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan will be CLOSED Monday, May 25, 2020.
In case of emergency, call (313) 234-5656.